Drawing up new boundaries in South Africa 1994


New South Africa provincial boundaries

In 1994, the segregationist apartheid policies came to an end, and South Africa has been since constitutionally making a number of changes to geographical names in the country. Before the election in 1994, on 15 December 1993 the South African Parliament voted to restore citizenship to residents of so-called independent states of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei, estimated at about 10 million.

During Apartheid, starting from the late 1950s the South African Government attempted to divide South Africa into a number of separate states, called homelands, for Blacks. Under the homeland system, each state was supposed to develop into a separate nation-state for a different ethnic group. According to the Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act No. 46 of 1959, Black people were classified into ethnic groups for whom a so-called homeland would be established. Approximately thirteen per cent of the land which represented fifty per cent of South Africa's arable land was reserved and divided into ten Black "homelands" amongst eight ethnic units (Davenport, 1977: p. 268).

The Black Homeland Citizenship Act 26 of 1970 (assent gained 26 March), subsequently renamed the Black States Citizenship Act, 1970 and the National States Citizenship Act, 1970, was a denaturalization law which was instrumental to this effect and required that all South African Blacks become citizens of one of the self-governing territories. The law declaredBlack people as aliens in urban areas, and could only live there after receiving special permission. It changed the status of Black people living in South Africa so that they were no longer citizens of South Africa, but became citizens of one of the ten autonomous territories. According to the law, "No Black person will eventually qualify [for South African nationality and the right to work or live in South Africa] because they will all be aliens, and as such, will only be able to occupy the houses bequeathed to them by their fathers, in the urban areas, by special permission of the Minister." (Connie Mulder, South African Information and Interior Minister, 1970.)

Four of the states were given independence (Transkei, Ciskei, Bophuthatswana and Venda), although this was never recognised by any other country. Each homeland was supposed to develop into a separate-nation state within which the eight Black ethnic groups were to find and grow their separate national identity, culture and language. The aim was to strip Blacks of their South African citizenship and ensure a demographic majority of White people within South Africa by having all ten Bantustans achieve full independence. In addition, urban townships were established to provide a readily available supply of labour, but had to be far enough away enough from white residential areas.

The Homelands were:

Transkei -- Xhosa (given "independence" in 26 October, 1976)
Ciskei -- Xhosa (given "independence" in 4 December, 1981)
Bophuthatswana -- Tswana (given "independence" 6 December 1977)
Venda -- Venda (given "independence" 13 September, 1979)
kwaZulu – Zulu (“Self-government status” in 1 December 1977 )
 Lebowa – Pedi (“Self-government status” in 2 October 1972 )
Kangwane – Swazi (“Self-government status” in 8 August, 1984 )
QwaQwa – Sotho (“Self-government status” in 1 November, 1974)
Gazankulu – Tsonga, (“Self-government status” in 1 February, 1973 )
kwaNdebele – Ndebele (“Self-government status” in 1984)

 Once a homeland was granted its "independence", its designated citizens had their South African citizenship revoked, to be replaced with citizenship of their homeland.The Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act (National States Citizenship Act) No 26 of 1970 was repealed by the Interim Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No 200 of 1993.

When the apartheid government came to an end, it was important that the democratic government began to change the previous structures to a democratic one, including changing the way in which the cities, townships, and settlements were physically organized according to racial/tribal differences. These has posed challenges to the government when trying to integrated poor non-white with more privileged white areas particularly in the urban areas.

One of the major changes was the redrawing of provincial boundaries and divided the country into nine provinces: the Eastern Cape, the Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, the Northern Cape and the Western Cape. The nine provinces of the Republic of South Africa and their boundaries were established in Schedule 1A to the Interim Constitution.

The then existing four provinces (Cape Province, Orange Free State, Transvaal, and Natal ceased to exist in 1994. The Cape Province was replaced and divided into three provinces namely: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Northern Cape; while the Orange Free State became the Free State; Natal was renamed KwaZulu-Natal, and the Transvaal was divided into Gauteng, Mpumalanga (initially Eastern Transvaal), Northwest Province, and Limpopo Province (initially Northern Province). The former homelands/Bantustans which were independent states namely Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei ceased to exist on 27 April 1994 and were re-incorporated into the country. 

In 1998, the South African Geographic Names Council (SAGNC) was established as an institution which oversees the process of name changes, i.e. street or city names. SAGNC advises the minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, guides the change and standardization of official names, and helps provincial geographic names councils. The renaming process is part of a national drive to make South African cities and street names sound more inclusive and less reflective of the colonial and apartheid past. For example, the cities of Pietersburg, Louis Trichardt, and Potgietersrust were named after Afrikaner leaders. They became, Polokwane, Makhoda, and Mokopane.

New South Africa provincial boundaries

                                      source: www.issafrica.org

                              source: www.go.galegroup.com

• SAHO, The Homelands, from South Africa History Online, [online], Available at www.sahistory.org.za [Accessed: 11 November 2013]
• SAHO, No More: The Battle Against Human Rights Violations by David Matas, from South Africa History Online, [online], Available at www.sahistory.org.za [Accessed: 10 November 2013]
• Boddy-Evans, A., New Names in South Africa: A look at the towns and geographical names that have changed in South Africa, from About.com African History, [online], Available at africanhistory.about.com [Accessed: 03 December 2013]
• Boddy-Evans, A ., Apartheid Era Laws: Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act No 26 of 1970, from About.com African History, [online], Available at www.africanhistory.about.com [Accessed: 22 May 2014]
• Davenport, T.R.H.,1977, South Africa: A Modem History, Johannesburg: Macmilian. Pp. 268

Last updated : 22-May-2014

This article was produced for South African History Online on 24-Apr-2014